BRISTOL - A portion of Centre Square is now a haven for young bike riders to practice their tricks.
Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu said the bikers have been a nuisance on public roads that have been recently paved, such as parts of North Main and Wolcott streets, as well as the new Hope Street, which opened in Centre Square by the new Bristol Health building earlier this year.
“I’ve had a couple of conversations with them about staying out of the road, and they said to me they like the road because it’s smooth and they can go on these straightaways and do their tricks and wheelies. It’s bad, they are in a bunch of different places where it’s nice and smooth,” she said.
So she came up with the idea to have Public Works pave a strip of the empty lot downtown for them to use. It’s part of an interior section of Centre Square, known as Parcel 9, which is scheduled to be paved next spring for public parking.
“So we met there a few weeks ago and they [the bikers] showed me the length that they wanted,” she said.
The strip is approximately 300 feet long, 28 feet wide, starting at the curb cut from Hope Street, she said. “It would have been paved anyway next year, but we just decided to pre-pave it and let them use it.”
Tilcon Connecticut Inc. donated $2,000 worth of asphalt, and Public Works put it down Tuesday and it should be ready for use by Wednesday, she said. “Tilcon, who have ‘Watch That Child’ on all their trucks, is nicely contributing to what I hope is an alleviation of the problem of these kids in traffic.”
She noted that she got the bikers to “promise to obey bike laws on your way to or from Centre Square.”
“There are multiple groups of bikers,” Zoppo-Sassu added. “I have a good relationship with the group that is often downtown, and I have met and talked to the parents, and the police have too. But we don’t know that there aren’t other groups out there too, being irritating. So this is now open to everyone and we’re hoping it will give them something to do in a safe environment.”
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or email@example.com.